Asked to describe her performance in the 3,200-meter race at the State Open indoor track and field championships, Staples High School junior Hannah DeBalsi said she was "cruising."

That's one heck of a cruise.

DeBalsi won the race and set the State Open record with a time of 10:40.55 -- breaking the record she herself set last year of 10:41.39.

"I'm pretty happy with it," she said. "I was only going for time. I was planning to cruise."

She "cruised" to that victory a short while after placing second in the 1,600 meters. She finished in 4:57.22, nearly three seconds behind champ Danae Rivers of Wilbur Cross. Running the two longest races of the meet back-to-back obviously didn't seem to slow DeBalsi.

"It's not that bad. I've kind of gotten used to it," DeBalsi said.

DeBalsi's efforts qualified her for the New England championships, set for Friday in Boston.

"I haven't gone all-out in the two-mile yet, so I'm excited for that," she said.

Tolland won a tight battle for the girls team title with 42 points, followed by Wilbur Cross in second with 40, Staples in third with 33, Danbury in fourth with 32, Hillhouse in fifth with 31 and Darien in sixth with 28.

The Danbury girls finished a close second in the 4x200 relay, with the foursome of Niema Riley, Bridget Chiaravalle, Zyniah Bunn and Saintphanie Porcenat finishing in 1:46.61, just .41 seconds behind Bloomfield's winning pace. Riley later took second in the 55 meters in 7.22 seconds, just .05 seconds behind Alethia Moore of Hillhouse.

"There was tough competition in the 55, but I PR'ed, so I'm so happy," Riley said. "It was a great race."

Darien's Anne Sulger won the 600 in 1:35.64, followed by Danbury freshman Leah Sarkisian in second in 1:37.13 and Pomperaug's Michaela Meyer in third in 1:37.98. Sulger also placed second in the 300 in 40.17.

Darien's Madeleine Schneider won the pole vault, clearing 11-0, followed by Laurel Bailey of Shelton in second (10-6) and Ali Moraveck in third (10-0).

Sarah Cicchetti of Greenwich won the shot put competition with a throw of 40-2.5. Zoie Reed of Amity won the long jump with a jump of 17-9.25, and also played fourth in the 55 meters in 7.35 seconds. Erica Hefnawy of Staples finished third in the 1,000 and Mia Nahom of New Milford took third in the 1,600.

On the boys side, meanwhile, teamwork was the name of the game for Weston, which won three relay events and finished a close second to Hillhouse in the team scoring. Hillhouse won with 43 points, followed by Weston in second with 40, Darien in third with 36, Staples in fourth with 30 and Ridgefield and Danbury in a tie for fifth with 24 apiece.

The Weston boys opened the meet in record-breaking fashion, with the quartet of Micah Zirn, Ian Stuebe, Chris Petty and Simeon Okoro winning the 4x200 relay with a State Open record time of 1:30.33. The previous State Open record of 1:31.54 had been set by Hyde in 2005.

The Trojans later won the sprint medley relay, with the team of Zirn, Petty, Cameron Okoro and Cole Clark finishing in 3:37.63. In the final track event of the day, Weston won a thrilling race in the 4x400 relay, with the team of Zirn, Petty, Patrick Baber and Simeon Okoro finishing in 3:26.23. Simeon Okoro ran the two-lap anchor leg and took the baton in second place behind Hillhouse. He turned on the jets with three-quarters of a lap to go and moved into first place to stay.

"The game plan for us going into the race was for my three partners to get me as close as possible to the anchor, if not in front, and let's see what I have left after a tough 300 race," said Simeon Okoro, who had also won the 300 meters in 34.89 seconds. "I've been training all season for this and we've worked tremendously hard. We expected a great season, but nothing like this. We're very thankful."

According to Weston coach Lloyd Weinstein, it was the first time the same school won all three relays since Danbury did it in 2004.

Anthony Bravo of Staples won the long jump competition with a jump of 22-10.75 and placed second in the high jump, clearing 6-4.

The Danbury boys relay team of Terrell Cunningham, Julio Arredondo, Corey Mullins and Jake Roberts won the 4x800 with a season-best time of 8:06.45, trimming more than 10 seconds off its qualifying time.

The FCIAC dominated a close 1,000-meter race, with the top three finishers separated by less than a second. Wilton's Spencer Brown won in 2:32.14, followed by Kristian Sogaard of Ridgefield in second in 2:32.46 and James Lewis of Staples in third in 2:33.11.

Tyler Green of Trumbull won the 600 in 1:22.50, with Johnathan Keating of Ridgefield finishing second just two-tenths of a second behind.

Eric Van Der Els of McMahon won the 3,200 in 9:17.39, with Darien's Alex Ostberg taking second just .33 seconds behind, Darien's Armstrong Noonan finishing third in 9:21.68 and Amity's Kyle Beaudette placing fourth in 9:23.94.

"I'm very excited for New Englands. I'm so happy I could pull this race off," said Van Der Els. "I knew I was one of the top contenders, and I was running fresh. I haven't run today. Alex, Armstrong and Kyle all ran the mile before."

Van Der Els passed Ostberg to take the lead on the final lap.

"I wanted to go out quick from the beginning. I wanted to get a fast start," Van Der Els said. "I knew Alex was going to be right on my heel the whole time. He did pass me with 800 to go. I used that as a positive. I stayed strong and hung on with him and gave it everything I had in the final 200."

Ostberg also finished a close second in the 1,600, clocking in just .13 seconds behind Ari Klau of Hall's winning time of 4:19.84. Noonan took third in that one as well in 4:20.68.

Evan Adams of Norwalk won the shot put title with a throw of 56-3.5, with ChristianTurner of Notre Dame-Fairfield placing third with a throw of 52-5.5. Bunnell's Ruvens Exantus placed third in the 55 hurdles in 7.72 seconds.

And while many folks were already walking out the door and trudging through the snow to find their cars, a battle raged on in the boys pole vault. Joseph Forgarasi of Windham cleared 15 feet to win, followed by Chris Rough of Westhill in second at 14-6 and Leland Roberts of Danbury in third at 14-0.

State Open Indoor Track

at Floyd Little Athletic Center, New Haven

Boys team scores

(Top 10 and regional teams)

1. Hillhouse 43; 2. Weston 40; 3. Darien 36; 4. Staples 30; 5t. Danbury 24; 5t. Ridgefield 24; 7t. Bloomfield 22; 7t. Wilton 22; 9. Windsor 20; 10. Amity 15; 13t. Trumbull 10; 13t. McMahon 10; 13t. Norwalk 10; 19t. Westhill 8; 23t. Bunnell 6; 23t. Notre Dame-Fairfield 6; 34t. New Milford 2; 41t. Ludlowe 1; 41t. Greenwich 1; 41t. Masuk 1.

Individual results

(Event winners and regional top-eight finishers)

4x200: 1. Weston 1:30.33 (State Open record); 3t. Greenwich 1:33.46; 3t. Amity 1:33.46. 4x400: 1. Weston 3:26.23; 3. Ridgefield 3:29.72; 7. Danbury 3:33.40; 8. Wilton 3:35.00. 4x800: 1. Danbury 8:06.45; 2. Darien 8:07.61; 3. Staples 8:11.28; 4. Wilton 8:13.70; 6. Amity 8:21.09; Greenwich 8:23.31. Sprint medley relay: 1. Weston 3:37.63; 4. Wilton 3:42.25; 6. Danbury 3:44.18. 55 hurdles: 1. Shawn Fletcher (Hillhouse) 7.71; 3. Ruvens Exantus (Bunnell) 7.72; 4. Aaron Rattley (Amity) 7.80. 55: 1. Stanley Little (Kennedy) 6.47. 300: 1. Simeon Okoro (Weston) 34.89; 8. Daniel Linehan (McMahon) 36.67. 600: 1. Tyler Green (Trumbull) 1:22.50; 2. Johnathan Keating (Ridgefield) 1:22.70; 5. Richard Grudzwick (New Milford) 1:23.87; 6. Jake Duncan (Ludlowe) 1:23.93. 1,000: 1. Spencer Brown (Wilton) 2:32.14; 2. Kristian Sogaard (Ridgefield) 2:32.46; 3. James Lewis (Staples) 2:33.11; 8. Cole Clark (Weston) 2:37.41. 1,600: 1. Ari Klau (Hall) 4:19.84; 2. Alex Ostberg (Darien) 4:19.97; 3. Armstrong Noonan (Darien) 4:20.68; 6. Eric Waterman (Danbury) 4:26.80; 8. Tommy Consalvo (Brookfield) 4:31.38. 3,200: 1. Eric Van Der Els (McMahon) 9:17.39; 2. Alex Ostberg (Darien) 9:17.72; 3. Armstrong Noonan (Darien) 9:21.68; 4. Kyle Beaudette (Amity) 9:23.94; 5. Clint Corso (Ridgefield) 9:24.37. High jump: 1. Amaciah Gadson (Bloomfield) 6-4; 2. Anthony Bravo (Staples) 6-4; 3. Mike Morrow (Danbury) 6-2; 6. Joseph DiMartino (Masuk) 6-0. Long jump: 1. Anthony Bravo (Staples) 22-10.75. Shot put: 1. Evan Adams (Norwalk) 56-3.5; 3. Christian Turner (Notre Dame-Fairfield) 52-5.5; 4. Hunter Shipp (Wilton) 52-1.5; 7. Abhishek Panigrahi (Bethel) 50-0. Pole vault: 1. Joseph Forgarasi (Windham) 15-0; 2. Chris Rough (Westhill) 14-6; 3. Leland Roberts (Danbury) 14-0; 6. Thomas Chessman (Greenwich) 12-6.

Girls team scores

(Top 10 and regional teams)

1. Tolland 42; 2. Wilbur Cross 40; 3. Staples 33; 4. Danbury 32; 5. Hillhouse 31; 6. Darien 28; 7. Glastonbury 18; 8. Windsor 17; 9t. Bloomfield 16; 9t. Coginchaug 16; 11t. Amity 14; 11t. Shelton 14; 13. Ludlowe 12; 14t. Pomperaug 10; 14t. Greenwich 10; 22t. Masuk 6; 22t. New Milford 6; 29. Weston 5; 30t. Ridgefield 4; 30t. Immaculate 4; 37t. Wilton 1.

Individual results

(Event winners and regional top-eight finishers)

4x200: 1. Bloomfield 1:46.20; 2. Danbury 1:46.61; 3. Ludlowe 1:48.49; 7t. Darien 1:49.74. 4x400: 1. Wilbur Cross 4:01.63; 6. Wilton 4:09.69; 7. New Milford 4:10.65; 8. Danbury 4:11.04. 4x800: 1. Glastonbury 9:27.61; 4. Weston 9:35.65; 5. Pomperaug 9:40.77; 6. Ridgefield 9:43.06; 7. Darien 10:03.61; 8. Staples 10:06.67. Sprint medley relay: 1. Tolland 4:14.93; 3. Staples 4:20.97; 4. Danbury 4:21.01; 5. Pomperaug 4:21.59; 6. Weston 4:21.60. 55 hurdles: 1. Gabby Curtis (Wilbur Cross) 8.44; 4. Bridget Chiaravalle (Danbury) 8.84. 55: 1. Alethia Moore (Hillhouse) 7.17; 2. Niema Riley (Danbury) 7.22; 4. Zoie Reed (Amity) 7.35. 300: 1. Sashana Hinds (Windsor) 40.03; 2. Anna Sulger (Darien) 40.71; 3. Emma Koether (Ludlowe) 41.35. 600: 1. Anna Sulger (Darien) 1:35.64; 2. Leah Sarkisian (Danbury) 1:37.13; 3. Michaela Meyer (Pomperaug) 1:37.98; 5. Samantha Hartmayer (Shelton) 1:39.33; 7. Hannah Mercorella (Ridgefield) 1:42.60. 1,000: 1. Danae Rivers (Wilbur Cross) 2:56.95; 3. Erica Hefnawy (Staples) 3:03.71; 6. Kelsey Bordash (Ridgefield) 3:06.11; 7. Sabrina Rautter (New Fairfield) 3:06.38. 1,600: 1. Danae Rivers (Wilbur Cross) 4:54.68; 2. Hannah DeBalsi (Staples) 4:57.22; 3. Mia Nahom (New Milford) 5:07.43; 5. Hannah Fleming (Ridgefield) 5:09.69. 3,200: 1. Hannah DeBalsi (Staples) 10:40.55 (State Open record); 4. Jenna Gasparrini (Immaculate) 11:06.54; 7. Mary Lynch (Wilton) 11:23.48. High jump: 1. Kalli'Ana Botelho (Griswold) 5-2; 5. Bridget van Dorsten (Staples) 5-2; 6. ElizabethKnoll (Staples) 5-2. Long jump: 1. Zoie Reed (Amity) 17-9.25. Pole vault: Madeleine Schneider (Darien) 11-0; 2. Laurel Bailey (Shelton) 10-6; 3. Ali Moraveck (Masuk) 10-0. Shot put: 1. Sarah Cicchetti (Greenwich) 40-2.5; 4. Samantha Stevens (Shelton) 36-11.5.